Five Family Members Among Eight Christians Arrested In Bushehr

Jul 3, 2019
Source: Article18

Left to right: Pooriya Peyma, Fatemeh Talebi, Maryam Falahi, Sam Khosravi, Khatoon Fatolahzadeh, Sasan Khosravi, Marjan Falahi, and Habib Heydari

Eight converts to Christianity, including five members of one family, were arrested in the southwestern city of Bushehr on Monday, 1 July.

The arresting officers introduced themselves as agents from the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS).

They stormed the Christians’ homes in a coordinated operation at around 9am, confiscating Bibles, Christian literature, wooden crosses and pictures carrying Christian symbols, along with laptops, phones, all forms of identity cards, bank cards and other personal belongings.

Arresting agents also searched the work offices of at least two Christians and confiscated computer hard drives and security-camera recordings.

The officers are reported to have treated the Christians harshly, even though small children were present during the arrests.

Article18’s sources confirmed the names of the arrested Christians as Sam Khosravi, 36, and his wife Maryam Falahi, 35; Sam’s brother Sasan, 35, and his wife Marjan Falahi, 33; Sam and Sasan’s mother, Khatoon Fatolahzadeh, 61; Pooriya Peyma, 27, and his wife Fatemeh Talebi, 27; and Habib Heydari, 38.

Khatoon Fatolahzadeh, whose arrest came after six cars carrying security officials turned up outside her home, was released the same day due to her age.

Article18 understands that the rest of the Christians remain detained, with no access to lawyers, and are being held in solitary confinement in the MOIS office in Bushehr.

These latest arrests bring the number of Christians arrested in Iran this year to at least 34: eight in Bushehr, nine in Rasht, 12 in Amol, two in Ahvaz, and one each in Hamedan, Shiraz and Isfahan. For security reasons, it has not yet been possible for Article18 to report fully on each incident.

In May, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, openly admitted to summoning Christian converts for questioning, saying mass conversions were “happening right before our eyes”.

Speaking in London yesterday, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rahman, branded the treatment of Christian converts in Iran as “very disturbing”, saying it was something he was “personally concerned about”, and pledging that in the coming years he will “look into the issue very seriously”.

This isn’t the first incident to have affected Christians in Bushehr. In April, Article18 reported that 16 other converts from Bushehr lost their appeals against prison sentences for “propaganda activities against the regime through the formation of house churches”.

One thought on “Five Family Members Among Eight Christians Arrested In Bushehr”

  1. My prayer: Inspired by Nehemiah and Paul’s first letter to Timothy. I’ve replaced the reference to various nations to be contemporary.

    I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of these captive Christian in Iran, confessing the sins of American which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned leading in part to this intense persecution that we witness this day.

    This persecution is not all about Iran or the Iranian government or their religion, but it is in part about America and American government and American religion too. We have neglected for too long the responsibilities that come with liberty. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded of us through our Constitution; we submit not to the government You gave us. Unjust war, outside influence, dirty oil, and materialism are more important than justice, contentment, righteousness, liberty, and peace.

    There are many Christians in America; we are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servants successful today and grant us compassion. Lift the bushel baskets we hide beneath. Let the good works inspired by Your Name push back the darkness. Let us return good for evil and wisdom for foolishness. Grant that we counter the totally depraved influences that cast their shadow upon our land and world about us.

    Reform us and restore us and redirect our Nation to preserve and protect the blessings of liberty and not destroy them. Help us to once again be a blessing rather than a curse to all those who have given up everything to bear Your Holy Name. Establish and protect each missionary and every missionary society; may the Gospel sound forth clearly through them. And finally and most importantly, let us be the answer to these prayers we offer up today. Empty us of ourselves and fill us with Your Spirit to guide us and empower us for it is in Your Name we pray and for Your glory. Amen.

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